When you want to combine your entertainment with your holiday shopping, head to the annual Space Coast Lighfest. Prepare to be wowed by 2.5 million lights glowing holiday cheer throughout Melbourne's Wickham Park, and then head straight to the vendors and craft booths. In between shopping, grab a bite to eat, ride horses, go on a hayride, drink hot chocolate, visit with Santa and let your kids go wild on the bouncy houses. Don't miss the S'mores bar. The light fest, organized by the Boy Scouts of America, is one of the Space Coast's biggest holiday extravaganzas and was named one of the Top 20 Events of Southeast United States by the Southeast Tourism Society. Drive or walk through (we recommend the latter). The light fest is an exciting, family-friendly way to knock out some holiday shopping and get psyched for Christmas, too.
Recommended for Melbourne's Best Shopping because: The light fest is an annual holiday tradition with great vendors and craft booths.
Aimee's expert tip: Don't miss the new S'mores bar.
The Executive Cigar Shop and Lounge is where cigar-lovers can go to relax with a stogie in the air conditioning, sip a cold beer and unwind. Some fans call this lounge, in historic downtown Melbourne, Fla., the ultimate "mancave" (although, of course, it's open for women, too). Some patrons come to the Executive Cigar Shop and Lounge to watch sports on TV. Others come for special events, like the annual chili cook-off, or events that feature cigar experts. Learn more about cigars here, try and buy new ones and share the love with other aficionados. The shop recently underwent a renovation to build a new patio.
Recommended for Melbourne's Best Shopping because: Executive Cigar Shop and Lounge is where cigar-fans can gather in the AC, drink beer and smoke and buy stogies.
Aimee's expert tip: Look for special events, like the "Top 25 Cigar Aficionado meetings," where you can celebrate the list of top 25 cigars.
Julie's British Shoppe in downtown Melbourne is one of the city's most unique stores. Not only is it situated in a historic building, but it also carries the likes of Jelly Babies, Wine Gums and McVites Digestives. Yes, a full stock of munchies imported from the United Kingdom every month. Find everything from sweets to frozen pork pies to unique gifts that appeal to world travelers, Australians, South Africans, Brits and also people interested in trying something new and unique. Since Julie Primus, owner and former resident of the UK, bought he shop, formerly called Lord Ravenswood Hall, it has doubled in size � and continues to grow.
Recommended for Melbourne's Best Shopping because: The British Shoppe gets authentic products from UK in monthly.
Aimee's expert tip: "Digestives" might not sound delicious, but they're a type of biscuity cookie. Try a chocolate digestive.
Aurora Unique Bridal Boutique is the best shop on the Space Coast to find formalwear and accessories. Whether you are a destination bride or wedding guest in need of a new clutch or replacement shoes, or you are just looking for a special dress for a night out, you can find a huge selection here. This boutique boasts the Space Coast's biggest selection of dresses: more than 300 different styles of wedding gowns, more than 400 different bridesmaid dresses and three times the selection of the area's biggest bridal chain store. That means you will find a wide selection of price points and sizes (from 4 to 28W). Find hundreds of other formal gowns in stock that are registered after your purchase, assuring no one else will be able to purchase the same dress for your prom or a special event. You can also rent or buy tuxedos here.
Recommended for Melbourne's Best Shopping because: Go here to score a special dress for that night out. It's more than just a bridal shop.
Aimee's expert tip: Want a second opinion back home? Bring a camera and ask a sales associate to snap your picture; they are eager to do so.
The Flop Shop is the best place to go in Melbourne, Fla., to get your feet covered. This locally owned shop opened in 2005, mainly as a place to find a wide variety of flip-flops, but you can find other kinds of beachy shoes here, too, such as popular Toms, Tevas, Crocs and Keens. This downtown Melbourne shop exudes Florida: relaxed, stylish, practical and warm-weathered. The Flop Shop carries shoes for men, women and kids in popular brands, such as Reef, Olukai, Sanuk, Merrell, Chaco and Naot. This is where to go for high-quality flip-flops and sandals that will be comfortable and last more than a few trips to the beach. You can also pick up sunglasses here. Not in town? You can order your flops from this shop online.
Recommended for Melbourne's Best Shopping because: The Flop Shop is a great place to get quality beach shoes and flip-flops.
Aimee's expert tip: Buy one pair of Toms and the company sends another pair to a family in need.
If you get an itch for bargains, check out the biggest flea market along the Space Coast. The market boasts 900 booths under covered shopping areas. More than 250,000 shoppers find great deals weekly on fresh produce, crafts, antiques and collectibles, computers and jewelry – making the Super Flea the Space Coast's biggest shopping destination. In addition to the regular booths, the Super Flea features new vendors selling new and used goodies every week, so you never know what treasures you will find here. Free parking. Cash only. Open every 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Friday through Sunday, rain or shine.
Recommended for Melbourne's Best Shopping because: This mega flea market is home to 900 different booths with great deals.
Aimee's expert tip: This is no traditional flea market. You can get your hair done, nails painted – you can even get a tattoo here. Come with an open mind and let yourself be surprised.
After spending several millions dollars on a massive facelift, Melbourne Square now features a unique children's play area, an inviting food court, new lighting in all common areas and lush landscaped gardens. The 1,500-square-foot Kidgets Play Area is a fun place to come with kids to cool down, refuel and get some shopping down. The revamp also brought in some exciting new stores, including Coach, Francesca's and Express. But one thing that hasn't changed: This still a great indoor place to shop, thanks to its collection of major department stores (Macy's, Dillard's and JCPenney), and more than 125 popular specialty shops.
Recommended for Melbourne's Best Shopping because: The Melbourne Square Mall offers more than 125 shops, plus an indoor kids play area.
Aimee's expert tip: Download the Simon Mobile app to connect you with news and special deals about the Melbourne Square mall.
Hammock Landing in West Melbourne is the Space Coast's newest mall and the home to plenty of popular retailers. Located at the intersection of Interstate 95 and Palm Bay Road, this open-air shopping complex can connect you with new clothes, makeup, home decor and an assortment of restaurants. This shopping district has more than 28 stores spread out over more than 100 acres. Browse the windows alongside the Florida sunshine, and pop inside to cool off. Hammock Landing has everything you need to find an inexpensive, trendy outfit; grab a delicious dinner; cool off with a frozen yogurt dessert; and top off the evening with a movie in Brevard County's newest IMAX theater.
Recommended for Melbourne's Best Shopping because: Hammock Landing is the newest mall in Melbourne with great shops and entertainment, including an IMAX theater.
Aimee's expert tip: After a busy day of shopping, treat yourself to a movie in the IMAX theater.
Small town hospitality exudes from the shops and restaurants that make up Melbourne's charming downtown area. Tree-lined streets (palms, of course) and quaint little sitting areas give downtown plenty of character, making it a great place to spend an afternoon. As for shopping, look to East New Haven Avenue, the main commercial drag, which features everything from antique shops to ladies boutiques. Downtown Melbourne is a great choice if you want something handmade, such as soaps or lotions, or you are shopping for the antique, vintage, repurposed or quirky. Fashionistas: Don't miss Downtown Divas and the metro-inspired Swanky Sole for hot shoes and accessories.
Recommended for Melbourne's Best Shopping because: Downtown is where all the action is – and many of the city's best shops.
Aimee's expert tip: Check out the discounted and gently used designer clothes at Re-Creations Consignment.